Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence

I haven't received our water bill yet but have sworn I would not say a word if it made Steven happy to water several days several hours in a row in an effort to keep what light yellow grass we had from turning brown.

Tonight he makes me get in the car, backs out of the drive and slows in front of our house so I can see our grass has turned green not just from one angle but all angles. I felt like I was at a 4th off July firework show as I oohed and aahed. It was the only way he would let me out of the car.

So then he goes on to says he can't hardly believe it, but he's gonna have to mow that grass and that really $*(^@#s him off. Well what did he think 43 1/2 hours of watering was gonna do, turn the grass green but not grow it?

Scans this week

This week Steve will have scans to see how the cancer in his lungs and liver are responding to the last 2 cycles of chemo. We will get the results from this next week when we see the doctor.

A miracle at this time would be great. Just like some of the stories I've been reading to inspire me. The doctor will come in with a smile instead of the sad sorry look he has had in the past. He'll sit facing us and tell us the cancer is miraculously gone, no sign of it anywhere. We'll be shocked as we look at each other in amazement, knowing God can do this but hardly believing it. The doctor will want to do a 6 month follow up of course. And we will walk out holding hands just like we did 49 days ago in a stunned silence. We'll go to Heritage Church for prayer again, only this time in astonished praise at being healed.

Or I will settle for hearing that the cancer has responded to the chemo and is now smaller.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Save the last dance for me

Story Time - It was during the last dance of our wedding reception that the accident happened. The groom, doing the splits one more time went down, but didn’t get up. The remaining guests left as we iced his throbbing knee.

A sore knee did not stop us from leaving for our honeymoon at a Chicago resort. But we barely checked in when the pain became unbearable and we headed for the nearest emergency room. Trying to make the best of a bad situation I continued to take pictures of doctors and technicians as he was examined and x-rayed. Eventually we left with crutches, a knee immobilizer and a diagnosis of torn knee ligaments.

The resort was kind enough to provide a wheelchair and tactful enough not to snicker at us as we pushed past with his leg sticking straight out. After all we were” the honeymooning couple in room 1092” who weren’t doing too much honeymooning. I continued with my picture taking, him in his wheelchair with a snarl on his face, a picture of the ceiling above the bed which is what he viewed most often.

The real challenge came when it was time to drive home. He couldn’t drive and I didn’t know how to drive a stick. The best time to learn is NOT when the person who is teaching you is in a leg brace. So we jerked and stalled and tried to laugh and not cry.

The final kicker came as I got home and went to take the film out of our camera only to find I hadn’t put any film in to begin with. Our pain filled honeymoon would remain a fond memory. But then we are still married aren’t we?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Finally a camp fire

Finally, a camping night. The weather broke, Steven felt okay and I got rid of my headache. I felt high sitting by the campfire last night. We saw the deer family across the river come get a drink. The owls courting each other in the trees above. I heard geeseeneese from the geese as they honked.

It wasn't a late night, but that's okay because I like enjoying the early morning. Not that 9 a.m. is early...

Friday, July 27, 2012

If only...

My son Joshua said I should have a plant hospital. People are always bringing me their half dead plants as a last resort because they can't toss them.

I don't know why they thrive with me. I don't do anything special. I tell them as I repot them that it's their last chance. I cut off all the dead area and some of the leggy stuff. I put them outside next to a healthy plant and say, "Look at your sister here, how healthy she is. Don't you want to be just like that?"

I give them a good watering and leave them alone. It takes a month to 6 weeks to really see what they will choose, new life or.... Inevitably they choose new life. Some will even flower in thanks. And I do thank them.

If only Steven were a plant. But he is in a way God's plant isn't he?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Prayer for rain

We are being prayed for by so many friends and family it's a wonder God is not healing Steven out of sheer exhaustion from listening.

I feel so much love and concern in each hug I'm given. I see their heart is aching for us. We both hate being the center of anyone's attention, but I'm thankful they are all there.

I have a friend who calls every single day and asks what I need, what she can do for me. Everyday. Sometimes I feel like giving her a mission to find a rare bird feather preserved in Dominican Amber, or chocolate from the wilderness of Peru. To make it rain would be really nice. But surely there are more people praying for rain than for Steven and we are still dry as can be.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A well deserved good day

Finally, Steve had a good day. He walked around the yard and decided to water the almost dead grass. All day long the sprinkler was going and I don't care how much water was wasted on a very dry yard, he was happy.

I touched base with family and was able to give good news. I know he would like to make these calls himself but he can't get his voice loud enough since the bronchoscopy damaged his vocal cords.

He actually had an appetite today. I went snack shopping and got gourmet nuts, chocolates, chips, crackers, cheese and fruit. Easy to grab items. I think he is at 125 lbs. I never thought I'd weigh more than him but I do now.

When he's happy, I'm happy.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My version of Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither chemo nor radiation, neither scans nor procedures, neither good news or bad news, neither predictions nor unanswered prayer, nor anything else in all the world of cancer, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Our favorite part of the day

Our close friends and family know where Steve and I will be at 7 p.m. We are sitting together talking. We stop whatever we are doing, get something to drink and sit at the table. The T.V. is off, candles are optional, music is a must. We don't care who joins us, as long as we are there together. The kids knew when they were young, if they needed to talk, here was one opportunity.

Weather pending we are on the deck. We have a propane heater and a wonderful view of all our trees. Or an even better place is at our camp site with a fire between us, watching the river go by.

There is more than "How was your day", in passing. He knows my coworkers even if he's never met them. I know what vehicle he's trying to paint match at the body shop. I know how his lunch was and he knows if I talked to the boys today. If it's Monday, I'm just getting home at 7 p.m. so am either hyper or brain dead. As the week comes to a close there is more talk of the weekend. What we will do if the weather does this or that. What home tasks will we work on, or maybe a nap is prioritized instead.

The table looks different now with a blood pressure cuff, nebulizer, voice enhancer, calendar of appointments, medicine bottles and get well cards but it can all be moved to accommodate a couple coasters and a mug of beer or cup of tea.

I love this part of us. It's my favorite part of the day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

There's no place like home

Steven is home. He has his own toothbrush, pillow and lovely wife (okay skip the last part). I can tell he is happy because he is giving me a hard time about everything in an effort to be funny. Of course I laugh, even at my own expense because I'm a good wife. I can tell he is still recovering because it's nap time and we've only been home long enough for him to shower. That's okay, I just love having him home.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No rest for the weary

We went to ER last night because Steven felt like he couldn't get a deep breath due to this cold. After doing a couple breathing treatments with no improvement they decided to admit him. He will stay tonight and keep getting breathing treatment and antibiotics. Prayer that his headache eases and he can get some much needed sleep.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cancelled Plans

We had an appointment tomorrow at the University of Iowa City for our second opinion but Steven is not able to make the trip. This cold has him stuck in bed. We thought he would be better by now. So I'll call his doctor's office in the morning and get him in there to see if this has turned into pneumonia or what. So prayers please. That we find out if this is just a run-of-the-mill cold or more and that he gets his energy and appetite back.


Steve to me- I'm fine, how are you?

Me to Steve- I'm fine,

Me turning to Large Elephant - How are you?

Large Elephant - stares blankly

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is so limited...

     It cannot cripple love, it cannot shatter hope,
     It cannot corrode faith, it cannot eat away peace.

     It cannot destroy confidence, it cannot kill friendship,
     It cannot shut out memories, it cannot silence courage.

     It cannot invade the soul, it cannot reduce eternal life.
     It cannot quench the Spirit, it cannot lesson the power of the resurrection.

Our greatest enemy is not disease, but despair.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hope = Peace

It takes no time at all to remember our 'new' life when I wake up. Everything is different. I always start with a helpless feeling that I can do nothing to make this different. As if it were a money issue and I could get another job, or agree to counseling because we weren't getting  along.  But this...

Then my mind goes to God. I know every bit of strength I have to get thru today is His. I have hope. Nothing can take that away. And I know now Steve has that same hope.

Miracles happen all the time and it could be we are in this very place for that very reason.  Regardless of the miracle happening, I've been brought to this day with a bigger picture in mind. And that gives me peace.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

That extra bag of steroids

Steven had a bad night last night laying awake for most of it. He forgot the extra bag of steroids they give him during his 3 hour chemo. Maybe we plan different next time. When he comes home from the long chemo and takes a nap, I need to let him sleep as long as possible rather than wake him up as I did last night (so he could sleep later). Then we both stay up the night and I take the next day off work. Hmmm...a thought.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Posting a comment

I was having trouble posting a comment and wanted to make sure none of you readers were having the same issue. Here is a step by step to post a comment. We would love hearing from you.

1.  Enter a comment and click on "Comment As"
2.  click on "Name/URL?
3.  enter whatever name you want/nothing in URL
4.  click "Continue"
5.  comment
6.  click "Publish"
7.  if needed, enter letters/numbers proving your not a robot

Round 2 of Chemo

Today we begin the next cycle of chemo. Today is 3 hours, 1 hour tomorrow and 1 hour on Thursday. Since there was some nausea last cycle they will give him something in the IV to prevent that this time.

Accompanying him today is his brother Ernest. He is here visiting. I thought it great he was here to do this since I have this cold. I'm sure they appreciate me staying away from the cancer center.

Ernest has been showing Steven how to use an iPad. We both find it very cool. Maybe we can get Steven to blog too! I'm sure you would all rather hear from the big guy himself.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Procedure

Steve talked fine before the procedure he had in the hospital called a bronchoscopy.  It's where the doctor inserts a tube thru the airway and can see inside the lungs with a light and a little camera. There is a 1% chance of any damage to the voice box or vocal cords. And he is the 1%. His voice will come back in time. So now he has this sexy Clint Eastwood loud whisper, only Steve is better looking.

Bless our son's heart. He found a voice enhancer online. It's a speaker you wear around your waist and a headset with a little mic.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How to tell the neighbors

How do you go to your neighbors and tell this kind of news? It's too much. But you want them to know because you would want to know if it was them. And then you could ask, 'what can I do?'. How I wish I could make a list and give everyone a job and we would all feel better. But I can't think. I'll blame it on the cold.

So I confided in a close neighbor and asked if she would go around and explain to folks. She could give them a flyer for the benefit. Maybe I took the easy way out but at this point I need a break.

Our 'Go To' Guy

There probably isn't one of you reading this who know Steve who haven't been helped out by him a time or two. I'm sure we all have words to describe him...I'll just use maniac.

If you were moving, have those boxes packed and get out of his way. If your car broke down, he'd know exactly what to do and then do it or get someone who could. If you were in jail, he'd bail you out. Well, unless it was your third time.

Before getting sick he was in 5th gear most of the time. I never saw him watch T.V. during the day or on weekends for several years into our marriage. The muscle, steam and good intentions were always there.

Maybe you'd like to tell of a time Steve helped you out. Feel free to share. Of course there was the old guy walking in the rain storm with all those groceries that he took home, the car accident he came upon and assisted with, the driveways he plowed before the owners were even awake, and the countless people pulled out of snow drifts who won't be able to tell their story. Those will just be stored up treasure.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

This is no time for a cold

What are the chances I would get a cold when Steven is not suppose to be around anyone sick? Me, who never gets a cold now have the full shebang. So we are carefully washing our hands and not drinking out of each others cups. And as we hug each other and would normally kiss, we mumble into each others neck, "love you". This isn't right.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

From Headache to Lung Cancer in One X-Ray

When we went to the emergency room June 4th, 2012 to treat Steven's migraine the last thing we thought would hear would be he had lung cancer.

They had heard him cough and decided to do a chest x-ray, a test he had had just 2 months prior. What they found was pneumonia caused by a large mass pressing against his bronchial tube.

He was immediately admitted and scheduled for a biopsy the next day. We were told it would be 3-4 days until they knew the results, but the surgeon who saw us after the procedure said he could tell it was cancer and that it was in his lymph nodes. From there more tests would show that it was in his liver.

This is a fast growing, aggressive cancer that responds well to chemo but it will roar it's ugly head again. It is incurable and the life expectancy is said to be about 1 year. Of course nothing is bigger than God, so we will pray for a miracle and treasure each day we have.